UFC on ESPN+ 14 rookie report: Grading the newcomers in Uruguay

Fighters from around the globe dream of the day they’ll step into the UFC octagon for the first time. For five athletes, Saturday’s UFC on ESPN+ 14 event marked that special moment in their career.

Check out this week’s rookie report to see what kind of first impression those fighters made on the sport’s biggest stage from Antel Arena in Montevideo, Uruguay.

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Kazula Vargas

Kazula Vargas

Division: Lightweight

Result: Alex da Silva def. Kazula Vargas via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 20-27)

Record: Kazula Vargas (11-3 MMA, 0-1 UFC)

Grade: D-

Hailing from Mexico, Kazula Vargas showed the type of aggression and intensity you’d expect from the country’s long line of fighters. Unfortunately, he didn’t show much more.

The wild forward movement was on display from the start, but he lost his footing and slipped to the floor, where it quickly became apparent he didn’t have the ability to get back to his feet. Alex da Silva made some technical mistakes on the floor, but Vargas didn’t seem to pick up on them because he never threatened in the proper fashion.

Vargas was unable to stay on his feet in the 15-minute contest, and once on the floor, he was too willing to work from his back, where he didn’t seem to have any real weapons, and he handed away a one-sided decision, 30-27 on all three cards.

If Vargas is paired with a pure striker in his second effort, perhaps he’ll be able to impress a little more, but after this debut effort, it’s clear opponents will likely be looking to take him to the floor every time out, so he’ll need to improve in this area.

Source: USA Today – MMA Junkie

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